Ethan Reaper is lucky at work but unlucky at love. He has particular tastes in the bedroom and can’t find a woman to satisfy him. A new job for his security firm puts him in the middle of the Caribbean in a fantasy resort where anything goes. But the woman who steals her way under his guard is more than she appears.
Jewel Marciella, a.k.a Jewel Riser, has no idea what her undercover assignment at Satyr’s Myst—an exclusive and very private resort—will entail. Her attraction to Ethan is her first surprise, her job as a sexual slave her second whopping shocker.
Ethan and Jewel each have a job to do, and despite the hot chemistry between them, their relationship on the island is a fantasy at best. But murder and blackmail put them in dangerous positions, and they’ll have to decide if love is indeed a fantasy, or a choice which reaps its own rewards.
Hastings had yet to take his eyes off her in the five minutes she’d been sitting across from him at his desk, and his intense perusal was beginning to unnerve her. To say nothing of the glare the behemoth standing by the wall imposed. She’d caught a glimpse of him before quickly turning her gaze back to Hastings. And despite Hastings’s obvious male beauty, she had a hard time keeping her eyes on him. Her gaze kept straying to the guy holding up the wall.
Holy crap, but the giant stood several inches over six feet. The tan trousers and light orange shirt he wore only emphasized the muscles under his clothes, yet Jewel noted his paler skin next to Hastings’s. Either the guy was new or he did most of his work indoors.
Whereas Hastings was handsome, his guard looked tough, full of corded strength, with an attitude to back up the threat of his appearance. She couldn’t classify him as handsome, but his raw masculinity captivated all the same.
“Your paperwork appears in order.” Hastings finally glanced away from her face to look down at the folder in front of him. “I have your application, résumé, and current physical results. Like everyone else on the resort, you’re free of disease and appropriately protected from unwanted pregnancy. An implanted contraceptive, is that correct?”
He frowned and looked up. “How do you feel about sex, Jewel?”
She blinked. “What?”
“Sex. What are your thoughts on the topic? You do know what type of resort this is, don’t you?”
Get it together, idiot. Stop focusing on the muscle by the wall and jump into character. She gave Hastings a wry grin. “Yes, I do. I applied out of a sense of curiosity, I admit. And because your salary is amazing.” She paused, gnawing on her lip, and noted both Hastings’s and his guard’s keen attention on her mouth. “I don’t have any hang-ups, if that’s what you’re asking. Homosexual or heterosexual, as long as it’s consensual, I’m okay with it.”
“And bisexual?” Hastings murmured, his gaze still on her mouth.
She couldn’t help flushing. Not that she was a prude, but she didn’t normally discuss sexuality with strangers. Concentrate on the job. “Like I said, as long as it’s consensual, and legal, I don’t care who’s doing what to whom.”
“Hmm.” He glanced over his shoulder at the giant, who said nothing. Hastings turned back to her. “And nudity. How do you feel about that?”
“Hey, you want to get naked, I’m not going to complain.” She continued after his laughter settled. “Myself, I’m more modest. I’d assumed I’d be required to dress rather scantily for the weather, and because it’s a fantasy resort. But I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing my job naked.” She made sure to emphasize the last. Uncle Tommy might have given her a pathetic background, but Jewel had standards. Besides, her trademark smart-ass attitude had always stood her well in the past.
“A lot of my employees felt the same way when they first started, but now I have to remind them to wear clothes when they leave the resort.” He grinned, but the guard by the wall remained stoic.
Geesh, what would it take to get a rise out of him…literally? She flushed at the thought. Why the hell do I care?
“I like you, Jewel,” Hastings said. “You’re incredibly beautiful, but that’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s your sense of humor, that smile, and the buoyancy that survived a wrecked engagement and sought out a job here, in a fantasy surrounded by paradise. We’ll start you out on a trial basis, let you get a feel for the job.
“You’re required to wear the resort uniform. There are three different uniforms, depending upon the occasion. They’ll be provided to you later this evening. Size what, six?”
She swallowed, aware the guard was listening intently. The man said nothing, but his eyes remained focused on her, traveling over her body assessingly. “Eight, actually.”
“A very nice eight, I might add.” Hastings chuckled and nodded to his man behind him. “This is Ethan Reaper, one of my special security guards. Ethan will join us on the tour in a few minutes, and you’ll receive orientation this evening from Jaz. You met him when you first entered the resort. He’ll bring you to dinner at seven, so be ready.”
Hastings stood, and she rose as well. He held out a hand, and she placed hers in it without thinking. He offered a firm handshake and ended it with a caress as he slowly released her palm. Unable to help herself, Jewel shivered and saw satisfaction flare in his gaze before it vanished as if it had never been.
“Give me a few minutes with Ethan, if you would, Jewel. You can wait outside in the receiving room.”
She nodded, conscious of their stares burning into her back as she left. The minute Jewel closed the door behind her, she took a deep breath. Too much testosterone to deal with after a long-ass flight. Spotting two rattan chairs and a couch with a great view of the ocean, she sat carefully on the plump, mint-green settee and stared at the scene that begged for description.
A clear blue sky overlooked white sand and a calm, blue-green ocean. From this vantage on the main floor, she stared through palm trees and the occasional bush and caught the sweet scent of honeysuckle off the bright pink bougainvillea scaling the outside of the hotel. The red amaryllis and orange bird of paradise stood out against the immaculately kept lawn surrounding the main building, and she couldn’t help but wonder about the resort’s water bill.
Practical, as always, Jewel thought with a grin, which faded as she stared down at her short, blue, fanciful sundress. In keeping with her sexy, desperate persona — thanks so much, Uncle Tommy — she’d worn a cornflower blue sundress covered in purple, green, and yellow flowers. The cursed thing had spaghetti straps, which showed the thin blue straps of her bra, allowed too much cleavage, and was way too short. It came to the middle of her damned thighs.
Fidgeting, she practiced sitting ladylike on the settee, reminding herself not to spread her legs in comfort unless she wanted to go for the sexual side of employment here. Jewel snorted, imaging her uncle’s expression should he learn she’d gone native in a sex resort.
“Serve him right,” she muttered as she leaned toward the open window, unable to take her gaze away from the beauty of paradise.
“Serve who right?”
She had to look up, way up, to match the face with the gravelly voice. This close, she could see the dark brown color of the guard’s ‑‑ Ethan’s ‑‑ thickly lashed eyes. Hot damn, but he fairly oozed sex appeal, and Jewel was taken aback at her awareness of it. In Hastings’s office, Ethan had been intriguing in a standoffish, don’t-screw-with-me kind of way. But now, he looked as if he wanted to dance the horizontal mambo…with her. And her heart wouldn’t stop racing.
Swallowing loudly, she glanced beyond him. “Is Mr. Hastings finished with your meeting?”
“He has a few things to take care of or he’d join us.” He leaned down and took her hand in his, dwarfing her with his size. Electricity zinged through her at the contact.
This is so not normal.
Helping her to her feet, he caught her by the small of her back and walked her down the hallway. Plush green carpet softened their steps. A chair rail along the corridor separated the pale mango upper wall from the white wainscoted lower wall. Beautiful and classy when combined with the island prints framed in dark walnut on the walls. But the décor still wasn’t enough to blot out her consciousness of her hunky escort, who stood way too close for comfort.
“Um, so this is the tour?” Jewel wanted to slap herself for the obvious comment, especially when his brows rose as if questioning her intelligence.
“Part of it at least. You’ll notice there aren’t too many people in the hallways. Most of the action today is outside, in the private cabanas and in the central courtyard out back. But I think we’ll start by taking you through the hotel to your room. You look scared already, and the scene poolside takes some getting used to.”
She immediately bristled at his tone. “Look, I applied for this job. I may be new, but I don’t need to be handled with kid gloves.”
His hand shifted on her dress, and Jewel squelched an insane urge to increase the contact.
“Well then, Miss Assertive, let’s go outside, shall we?”
Though his voice hadn’t changed much, she could tell she’d pricked his temper. Good. Jewel needed a handle on those around her, and Ethan was like a locked vault. Apparently, chatting up security with a wide grin and a hint of boobs wasn’t going to work. Although… She glanced at Ethan from the corner of her eye, recalling the heated look he’d given her earlier.
Best to smooth over his annoyance. Smiling up at him, Jewel breathed deeply, throwing out her chest as she did so, and earned his attention. “So are the employees’ rooms grouped together?”
He studied her, but not with the sex-crazed expression she’d hoped for. “Yeah, on the fifth floor. Depending on your duties, you’ll either stay up there or transfer to the main floor.”
“Depending on my duties? I thought I’d been hired to waitress.”
He grinned suddenly, and the sight of his smile transformed him from arrogant tough guy to sex personified. “Baby, no one here is paid to screw. We have food staff, housekeepers, landscapers, and more. You’re here to wait on the guests, food-wise, but Satyr’s Myst is all about service. Like the others, you’ll be trained to please the guests in every way. But that’s a side benefit of the job.” His grin faded at her look of shock, and his eyes narrowed. “That is why you’re here, isn’t it?”
Jewel sputtered, then found herself outside under the shaded canopy of the hotel, overlooking group sex by the pool. Holy shit.
Ethan took her to the side, still under the shade and in full view of anyone looking, then lowered his head to murmur in her ear, “I told you it takes some getting used to. But since you’re here to participate, why not start your training now?”
“Not what?” he asked softly, positioning himself firmly behind her.
Copyright © 2013 Marie Harte
All rights reserved — MH Publishing